Pros: Great sound, Great brand and customer service
Cons: The fit will give you fits. Lacks comfort.
I got my pairs (plural) because my last pair of tried and trusty EC-4s bit the dust.. losing the left channel as they tend to do over 3 or 4 years. In the past, I'd send $100 dollars and the EC-4s to Shure, who'd fix them and send them back. Good to go.
Unfortunately, Shure has end-of-lifed the EC-4s. Boo! So rather than fixing them, they replaced them with two brand new pairs of SE425's-- right off the store shelves. Impressive that Shure backs their gear as well as they do, it says a lot about the company's integrity.
So now I'm left with two brand-new pair of SE425's. They are VERY different from the EC-4s, and not in a good way.
But let's not go all negative-- the new cable design is terrific. I like that the cables now break away at the earbud. Hopefully this will eliminate the left channel issue of the EC-4s (losing contact after a few years due to stress on the cable). The shape is cleaner and more attractive, but this leads to a huge problem in fit, which is where these headphones fall apart.
I started by trying the foam earpieces that come attached to the earbuds. They didn't get in far enough and the bass was missing-- so I switched to the rubber-- same issue-- the sound was tinny. Went for the yellow foam-- this was what I used on the EC-4s. Nope-- no luck. So I read the head-fi reviews here and someone suggested the white triple tips as the only tip that worked for them-- and that is true-- the second I put the white-triple tips in-- the sound was there.
Full, rich, detailed sound, just like the old EC-4s. The problem is that the white triple tips are about an inch long and give the feeling like you're being ear-raped. Yes-- ear rape! Like-- is this thing going to hit my ear drum? It's not- but it's a totally uncomfortable situation. Shure will put Q-Tips out of business! I can't imagine wearing these for any long-term listening.
Sound isolation? Hell yes-- with this much rubber in your ear-- how can you not get great isolation? Jeech.
Like the EC-4's there's very good mid-range (maybe a bit too much)-- natural articulate bass-- and slightly rolled off upper frequencies-- no sibilance. The sound isn't bright, but complete. Great soundstage. Wide-- nice for an in-ear.
But if you're buying a $300 dollar pair of buds-- get a pair that won't rape your ears. Seriously.